Drunken beachgoers, illegal parkers cause chaos at Thetis Lake
Public drinking at a popular Capital Region swimming hole has first responders and beachgoers fed up following another dangerous weekend.
It was a very busy day at Thetis Lake Sunday when the View Royal Fire Department had to respond to three separate calls.
The first call was for a hiker with a broken ankle, one that Fire Chief Paul Hurst called "legit."
But the other two calls were preventable and involved alcohol, Hurst said.
A call for a person in medical distress led first responders to a 15-year-old unconscious on a trail, apparently too intoxicated to move.
"They realized it was an issue of alcohol and/or drugs, we're not sure," Hurst said Tuesday.
The third call was for an injured man who hurt himself while cliff-jumping into the lake.
"The person had been drinking who jumped off the cliffs as well," said Hurst.
It's a common theme at Thetis Lake and one officials say needs to be dealt with.
"Spending a day at the park shouldn't involve the fire department and paramedics showing up to pick you up off the ground at the end of the day because you've decided to drink a case of beer or smoke a bag of weed," said Hurst.
Booze and drugs aren't the only problem. Adding to the chaos was the fact that emergency vehicles couldn't get through the parking lot because too many people were parked in fire lanes, no parking zones and on top of yellow lines.
"It's such a popular destination that unfortunately there are problems associated with that," said View Royal Mayor David Screech.
It was so bad that the fire department has changed its approach in dealing with illegal parkers at the lake.
"Starting today, we're going to patrol those fire lanes and I'm going to tow cars that are parked illegally," Hurst said.
He said he's also meeting with the manager of Capital Regional District parks on Friday to discuss further options for patrolling the park.